Current Team

Dr. Naresh Thadhani

Naresh Thadhani is Professor and Chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Georgia Tech (GT), which includes 38 faculty and ~370 undergraduate and ~185 graduate students. He joined the GT faculty in 1992, after six-years in the Center for Explosives Technology Research at New Mexico Tech, and two years as a post-doc at CalTech. He was appointed as the School Chair on August 1, 2012, two years after MSE merged with the former School of Polymer, Fiber, and Textile Engineering. He received his B.E. in 1980 from the Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, India, M.S. from South Dakota School of Mines, and Ph.D. from New Mexico Tech, all in Metallurgical Engineering.

Professor Thadhani is recognized for his work in shock-compression and high-strain-rate deformation of materials. His research has focused on the fundamental mechanisms of shock-induced physical, chemical, and mechanical changes under high-pressure shock-compression, and the deformation and fracture response of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, subjected to ballistic impact and high-strain-rate loading. He has led significant advancements in the understanding of shock-induced phase transformations and mechanical properties of bulk metallic glasses; design, development, and characterization of structural energetic materials, and the shock-compression response of highly heterogeneous (granular) materials through meso-scale computational simulations and experimental studies with meso-scale spatial and nano-second resolution temporal diagnostics.

Professor Thadhani has advised 15 visiting scientists/post-docs; 29 Ph.D and 14 M.S degree students; mentored 50+ undergraduate researchers. He has attracted research funding exceeding ~$17M from federal agencies including the AFOSR, ARO, DARPA, DTRA, ONR, NSF, as well as from several national DoE and DoD laboratories and industries. He has co-edited 12 books/proceedings, published more than 300 papers in refereed journals (including several invited review articles) and conference proceedings, and presented more than 150 invited talks/seminars. He has served or is serving on review boards including the National Academy of Science panel at the Army Research Laboratory (2015 and 2016), academic program review at Universities of Texas at Austin and El Paso, University of Notre Dame, University of Florida, and the University of California multi-campus national lab collaborative research program review, and external advisory board of Materials Science and Engineering program at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has provided high levels of service to professional societies, and organized numerous workshops/symposia/conferences.

Professor Thadhani is a Fellow of ASM International and the American Physical Society. He was recently elected as an Academician of the EuroMediterranean Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Research Scientist II

Dr. Greg Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy is our Research Scientist II and go-to-guy. He received his M.S. from Georgia Tech in Materials Science and Engineering, and his Ph.D. from Kumamoto University in New Frontier Sciences. He is a outdoorsman and avid bicyclist.

Graduate Students

Sukanya M. Sharma

Sukanya Sharma is a third-year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. She completed her BE in Mechanical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology in India. Her research  interests lie in the field of Damage and fracture of materials. Sharma is primarily interested in the science of fracture and in the development of stronger and safer materials for the future. She is co-advised by Dr. Naresh Thadhani amd Dr. Arun Gokhale to understand the fracture mechanism of Advanced High strength steels under dynamic loading for automotive applications. 

Sharma is a part of the Graduate Student Organization and also mentors undergraduate students. In her spare time, she enjoys reading novels, travelling, swimming and cooking. 

Stefany Holguin

Stefany Holguin is a fourth-year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. She completed her BS in Materials Science and Engineering (magna cum laude) at the University of Florida. Holguin is passionate about medical technology and biotechnology to improve healthcare for society. She has vast experience with interdisciplinary collaboration with chemical, materials, mechanical, and biomedical engineers. She is currently working with Prof Naresh Thadhani and Prof Mark Prausnitz to study intracellular drug delivery using laser-activated nanoparticles. This physical drug delivery method is a platform for gene delivery and cancer treatment.

Holguin is actively involved in outreach for underrepresented groups and mentoring of young STEM students. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, muay thai kickboxing, and trying new foods. Holguin has been recognized with a number of prestigious fellowships, including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation & NACME Minority PhD Scholar, and the National Institute of Health Biomaterials Training Grant.

Travis J. Voorhees

Travis is originally from San Diego, CA, and completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona, where he competed as a decathlete and pole vaulter on the Track and Field team.  Travis currently studies the dynamic consolidation of brittle cerium dioxide powders by conducting both impact experiments using the 80 mm light gas gun at Georgia Tech and cylindrical implosion experiments using the pulsed power driver PHELIX at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Travis is also a collaborator with the Prausnitz Lab, conducting laser exposure experiments to support drug delivery research being conducted by Stefany Holguin and Simple Kumar.

Travis is actively involved with the MSE Graduate Student Advisory Group and helps to run the Graduate Recruitment Fair and other social events in the MSE department at Georgia Tech. Travis is also involved with NACE International and is nominated as the 2018 Vice Chair of TEG 331X at the NACE Corrosion 2018 Conference & Expo. When not doing research, Travis is a children’s backpacking guide in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, leading elementary and middle school students on 30 to 120 mile trips with the Poway Backpackers nonprofit organization.

Andrew Boddorff

Andrew Boddorff is currently a first year Ph.D. candidate in the Material Science and Engineering School at Georgia Tech. After graduating from Hamilton College in 2010 with a degree in Chemistry, Andrew joined DC Teaching Fellows to become an educator and enter the classroom with the intent of serving the vulnerable student populations in the nation’s capital. Andrew joined the faculty at Ballou SHS and worked for five years as a Chemistry teacher and eventual department chair.

The love of science that he passed onto his students eventually lead him to return to the lab, joining Dr. Thadhani’s group. He intends to work on understanding how the structure of additively manufactured materials affect shock properties through laser shock and gas gun experiments. Beyond the lab, Andrew enjoys physical activities such as hiking and Ultimate Frisbee as well as cerebral pass times, such as board games.

David Scripka

David Scripka is a 5th year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. He also completed his BS in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech. David has been recognized with the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and the Georgia Tech President’s Fellowship.

David is passionate about data analytics, computational modeling, and STEM issues in Public Policy. He is currently working with Professor Naresh Thadhani to develop novel optical sensors, improving our understanding of how complex, heterogeneous materials behave in extreme environments.

David is actively engaged in the Georgia Tech community and student leadership. In his spare time, he is an avid reader, and enjoys recreational programming and web development.

Alex Bryant

Alex Bryant is a 5th year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech.  He completed his BS in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Alex is passionate about advanced materials analysis and processing.  He has experience working in superconductivity, photonic integrated circuitry, hydrogen sensors, and cosmetic coatings.  He is currently working with Professor Naresh Thadhani to study atomic structure changes in metallic glasses after shock compression.  This research builds on previous work which showed shock-induced strengthening of metallic glass, providing the opportunity for many defensive applications.

Alex is actively engaged in the academic community and mentoring of undergraduate students.  In his spare time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and learning new things.  Alex has been recognized with the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Georgia Tech President’s Fellowship.

Undergraduate Students

Justin Steiner

Justin Steiner

Justin Steiner is a second year undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering major at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He joined the Thadhani group as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Fall 2016 semester and has been working with the group since.  He is mainly under the advisement of Travis Voorhees and Greg Kennedy.  Justin helps with various tasks around the lab such as machining projectiles, taking accuracy measurements, cleaning the 80mm air gun, and helping set up instrumentation.  He hopes to take on more responsibility and individual projects in the group as he gains more experience

Outside of the lab Justin is in a fraternity, actively involved in Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT) Backpacking, and supports multiple campus outreach programs.  He loves to travel, with the most recent trips being 11 weeks in Europe and 2 weeks in the South Pacific.  If Justin isn't working, studying, or enjoying the outdoors, he is probably preparing a delicious meal or even cooking the meal right now.

Daniel Kirtley

Daniel Kirtley is a 2nd year undergraduate student from Roswell, Ga. He is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) with a minor in Industrial Design and a certificate in Finance. He participated in the MSE Research Scholar's program in 2016. He is involved in various extracurricular activities such as the MSE Mentoring Program, Material Advantage, Tech Beautification Day, and the Sigma Nu Fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, exercising at the CRC, and spending time with friends. 

His work revolves around the dynamic behavior of rolled Magnesium Alloy AZ31. Magnesium alloys have gained considerable importance as they possess a high strength-to-weight ratio. Taylor rod-on-anvil impact tests were conducted at different velocities, on rods machined along different directions of the as-rolled AZ31 plate. From these experiments, he was able to analyze the effects of anisotropy, determine the extent of twinning, and provide general insight on the dynamic deformation of magnesium alloys through quantitative microscopy. He presented his findings in the 2016 MSE Industry Day. 

Sean Bradley

Sean is a fourth year undergraduate student in Materials Science and Engineering. He has been working at the high strain lab for three years, initially under the advisement of Manny Gonzales, then Greg Kennedy. He assists with many of the experiments run in the laboratory, often creating fixtures and precision-machined parts for impact tests. He has also worked to run experiments for several outside groups, including dynamic powder compaction and Taylor experiments.

Outside of the lab, Sean works heavily with the Invention Studio. He has acted as shop manager of the space, maintaining all of its tooling and acquiring new tools, such as two waterjets, three laser cutters, and a lathe.